For the Watery element I designed a brush that resembles a drop of water. Round and bulbous at its base, it graduates to a fine point when wet. Its reservoir of hairs holds enough liquid to paint the ground washes that can be found in miniature painting. Its thicker size allows it to hold more liquid to lay down large areas of flat colour which can then be burnished. Crucially, the hairs end in an elegant fine tip, which also means that it can reach the tiny crevices in the outline while simultaneously holding enough colour to continue in the same breath into the larger expansive areas. This combination of thick body size with tiny tip allows the whole background to be painted with the same brush. Far from being a background brush, however, its versatility and allows for various different painting techniques to be employed.
The brush logo is based on the ancient Chinese character for water. Its ferrule is nickel-plated brass and the hair is the finest sable. The handle is raw birch wood, which is lightest and easiest to hold and allows for the best grip, which in turn grants the most control. Since these brushes are specially designed by me, they are not standard sizes, although this roughly corresponds to size 4 or 5.
The Water brush can be used in different ways, both within the specialism of traditional miniature painting as well as in contemporary watercolour painting. I designed it for the ground washes for miniature painting, of which there are several types. It can be used for pale and dilute washes for delicate mi-rang half-colour styles or for thicker, flatter areas of matte colour which are then burnished. This accessible brush slowly and steadily pushes the bead of water further and further down the page until the wash is complete.
For watercolourists, the brush can be used for classic watercolour techniques and is useful for general washes all round and on all types of paper. It can be used on fine, mirror-smooth miniature painting surfaces as well as on rough cold-pressed watercolour paper where it will achieve a grainy effect. It can be used at its tip initially for a fine line and then pressed down harder to produce a heavier colour, so with some experience, it can deliver a sophisticated, graduated variation within the same brush stroke.
Like the element itself, the Water brush has a range of temperaments. The gentlest stream of colour can rapidly turn into a deluge and flood the page with liquid. It can effect subtle, almost transparent washes clear as glass as well as establish deep, matte base colours opaque as the wine-dark sea.